Moving to Visual Studio Code

I've been using PhpStorm as my de-facto IDE for about a decade now. I don't really write much PHP anymore, but it's just the IDE I've grown the most comfortable with. It has tons of features and an editor that has a great semantic understanding of the code I write, which gives me access to lots of tools that help in quick refactoring.

After you use a tool like that for many, many years, you build up muscle memory. I couldn't tell you what any of the keyboard shortcuts are, but I know them all. Over time you also modify settings and themes and fonts. I'm quite pedantic in what I want my code editor to look like. Extraneous buttons that I don't use are an eyesore, and I have very specific thoughts on line spacing...

The last couple of months, however, I realised that I'm making life overly complicated by using PhpStorm. My entire team uses Visual Studio Code, and this makes pairing and ensemble programming quite difficult, as they don't know how to use my editor, and I don't know how to use theirs.

So this weekend, I've finally taken the plunge and started investing some time in setting up VSCode, and getting used to how it works. There's a lot to like.

  • With PhpStorm, I've often thought about writing extensions, but lacked the time to dive into learning Java to do it. With VSCode these are just written in Javascript, a lot closer to what I write in on an everyday basis.
  • I'm also really impressed by how fast it is. It doesn't do some of the deep code understanding that PhpStorm does (at least not without some extensions I've yet to locate), but that by itself is not enough to explain the difference in speed. After being used to the behemoth that PhpStorm is, VSCode feels light and breezy.

We'll see how this goes next week when I actually need to write code for work in this thing, but I think this time I might actually stick with VSCode.

With regards to making it easier for my colleagues to pair with me – not sure how much this is going to help, I feel like I already customised the editor so much that it might not be recognisable anymore.